Peach Trees
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Harper Soil

Harper is situated on the Edwards Plateau with Karst geography. This means calcareous rock close to the surface and presumably means calcareous soil. Thus it may be prudent not to expect too much of lime-sensitive trees or bushes.

Cultural Information

Plant Bare Root: Jan 1 – Feb 15

Read before planting.
Plant on berms to reduce danger of fungus infections. Water deeply once a week, not daily. Allow soil to dry somewhat.
Life expectancy: 20 years.
Years to first fruit:
2-3
Regular Tree size –
12 – 16′ It is possible to dwarf peach trees to 8′ size by summer pruning, beginning in June, once a tree has reached its desired size. Dwarfing rootstock works on the principle of a smaller root system depriving the tree of nutrients, thus forcing it into earlier bearing and keeping it smaller. Soil adaptation and disease resistance is far more important than any “dwarfing” characteristics. (See discussion of rootstock at GardenWeb: Yield of Standard vs Dwarf Peach Trees. Someone there remarks that trees starved via dwarfing rootstocks can have a much lower survival rate.)

Spacing: About 15′ apart. Closer together (10′) if kept pruned.
Soil requirements: Adaptable to many soils as long as they are well drained.
Cultural requirements: Unlike apples, standard peach trees require heavy pruning to produce well. Prune off old wood, always renewing branches, because peaches bear on new wood only. Prune to an open center vase shape or trellis in a fan shape on a fence or wall.
Prune Fruit in spring to spacing of 4-6″ between fruits.
Leaf curl control: Even the leaf curl resistant peaches will get some leaf curl for the first few years. To control leaf curl, spray lime sulfur when the buds first crack open in late December or early January and then three weeks later. Or if spraying by the calendar, spray once in late December and twice more at two week intervals. 1

Varieties

See DaveWilson Taste Test Winners marked TTW

Ripening Dates of Peaches in Texas Hill Country
Best flavor: Monroe

From Drew Demler’s Fruit Tree list (Central Texas):

  • Junegold, Red Baron: good for flowers and fruit, Redskin, Loring, Early Elberta -better for our area than the standard Elberta, Feicheng Tao -white-fleshed newcomer with knockout flavor, Donut -flat peaches with white flesh are wonderful and so much fun to grow. There are many other varieties of peach that will grow here.

TYPICAL RIPENING PERIOD in Hill Country:

VARIETY DATES FREENESS
Spring Gold, Regal, Flavorich May 12-20 Semi-Free
June Gold, Gold Prince May 20-June 5 Semi-Free
Sentinel, Gala, Southern Pearl (white) June 1-14 Semi-Free
Harvester June 5-20 Freestone
Cary Mac June 15-20 Freestone
Majestic June 25-July 10 Freestone
Redglobe June 25-July 10 Freestone
Bounty, Loring June 25-July 10 Freestone
Ruston Red July 4-15 Freestone
Redskin July 5-15 Freestone
Dixieland July 5-15 Freestone
Jersey Queen, Elbrta July 25 – Aug 5
Flame Prince, O’Henry August 1-10 Freestone
Big Red August 10-20 Freestone
Parade August 10-20 Freestone
Fairtime Sept 1-10 Freestone

Flavorich

  • 700 chill hrs, cling, 64 das before Elberta
  • earliest peach in Central Texas

* Springold

  • ripens May 10-20, 750 hrs
  • Womack

Regal

  • 700 chill hrs, ripens 54 days before Elberta, cling

Springprince

is a medium to large size peach with a yellow clingstone flesh with a red pit. Requires 650 chilling hours and ripens 52 days before Elberta. Zones 7-8  FruitTreeFarm

June Gold TWW

  • 650 hours chilling, Yellow flesh, clingstone. Ripens early June
  • Junegold peaches are large, firm, and slightly red, with a yellow flesh and are a clingstone peach. The trees are vigorous and disease resistant. Ripens 47 days before Elberta. Zones 7-8
  • Halford, Womack, FruitTreeFarm
  • Available on Halford at Womack

Goldprince

Yellow fleshed clingstone peach that requires 650 chilling hours and ripens 47 days before Elberta. Zones 7-8  FruitTreeFarm

Early Elberta

  • 750 chill hrs Zones 5-8
  • Freestone, self-fruitful
  • Ripens early June  Bob Wells

Juneprince

  • This peach is semi freestone with yellow flesh. Juneprince requires 650 chilling hours and ripens 35 days before Elberta. Zones 7-8 FruitTreeFarm

Sentinel

  • 850 chill hrs, 34 das before Elberta, semi-cling.

Gala

Gala has a yellow freestone flesh. It requires 750 chilling hours and ripens 33 days before Elberta. Zones 7-8  FruitTreeFarm

Coronet

Coronet has a yellow semi freestone flesh. It requires 700 Chilling hours and ripens 33 days before Elberta. Zones 7-8  FruitTreeFarm

Flavorcrest

This peach is a medium size, round, yellow fruit with 60-80% covered red when mature. It is exceptionally firm, with yellow, semi freestone flesh. This tree is self-fertile and appears winter bud hardy. Flavorcrest peach trees requires 750 chilling hours and ripens 33 days before Elberta. Zones 7-8  FruitTreeFarm

* Harvester

  • June 5-20, 750 hrs, mid-June
  • Harvester is a firm, highly colored freestone fruit with yellow flesh. Ripens 21-26 days before Elberta. Zones 7-8
  • Halford, Womack  FruitTreeFarm

Southern Pearl

This peach is freestone with white flesh. Southern Pearl is a good eating peach that is 60-70% red on a cream colored background. This tree requires 650 chilling

Cary Mac

  • 750 chill hrs, free stone, 20 das before Eleberta

Majestic

  • 850 hrs, free stone, 16 das before Elberta

Red Globe

This is a freestone fruit that is large and round with red blush over golden yellow background. It is yellow fleshed and has excellent flavor. Red Globe requires 850 chilling hours and ripens 13 days before Elberta. Zones 7-8   FruitTreeFarm $8.50

Bounty

Bounty peaches are large, firm, yellow fleshed freestone fruits. This trees requires 800 chilling hours and ripens 12 days before Elberta. Zones 6-8  FruitTreeFarm $8.50

 *Loring TTW

  • 750 hrs, July 10.
  • Loring is an excellent peach for processing, fresh market, canning, and preserves. It is a medium size, round freestone peach with red blush on a yellow background. The fruit hangs well to the tree and holds up well after picking. The trees are a self-fruitful tree that is sturdy, vigorous, and heavy croppers. It is a very reliable producer. Ripens late July to early August and requires 750 chilling hours. Zones 7-8
  • Halford, Womack, FruitTreeFarm

Ruston Red

Ruston Red is freestone peach with yellow flesh. It requires 850 chilling hours and ripens 5 days before Elberta. Zones 7-8  FruitTreeFarm $8.50,  Bob Wells $19.50

Summergold

This peach is freestone with yellow flesh; it requires 750 chilling hours and ripens

*Dixieland

  • 750 hrs, July 25 freestone, good color, popular
  • Yellow freestone flesh that ripens 3 days before Elberta. 750 chill hours. Zones 7-8
  • Halford, Womack $18.50  FruitTreeFarm $8.50

Summerprince

Yellow freestone flesh that requires 750 chilling hours and ripens 3 days before Elberta. Zones 7-8  FruitTreeFarm $8.50

*Redskin

  • 750 hrs, July 20-25
  • Redskin is large freestone with yellow flesh. This fruit has a red blush that covers most of its yellow background. This peach is great for eating, canning, freezing or shipping. Redskin is a vigorous, fast growing tree. This tree produces well under frosty conditions because of its lengthy blossom period. Redskin requires 750 chilling hours and ripens 2 days before Elberta.
  • Halford, Womack $18.50 FruitTreeFarm $8.50

Elberta

This fruit is considered the most popular variety in America. It is a large yellow peach with a crimson blush and has a juicy, yellow, freestone flesh. It is excellent for home gardens because it’s excellent for desserts, canning, freezing and jam. The tree is vigorous, compact, and self-fruitful. Elberta is the leading commercial processing peach. This peach ripens from late July to early August. It requires 800-950 chilling hours and is hardy in Zones 2-8. FruitTreeFarm

Jerseyqueen

Jerseyqueen is a large bright red fruit with firm yellow flesh. Jerseyqueen is freestone that ripens with Elberta and requires 850 chilling hours. Zones 2-8  FruitTreeFarm $8.50

O’Henry TTW

O’Henry is a large, firm, yellow freestone with full red skin and superb flavor. It is a strong, vigorous, self-fruitful tree. It requires 750 chilling hours and ripens 12 days after Elberta. Zones 7-8   FruitTreeFarm $8.50

*Big Red

  • 750 hrs, mid-August
  • Big Red is a yellow freestone peach that requires 750 chilling hours and ripens 22 days after Elberta. Zones 7-8  FruitTreeFarm $8.50
  • Womack

Autumnprince

Autumnprince has a yellow freestone flesh with a red pit cavity. It requires 750 chilling hours and ripens 30 days after Elberta. Zones 7-8   FruitTreeFarm $8.50

Parade

This peach is freestone with yellow flesh. It requires 850 chilling hours and ripens 30 days after Elberta. Zones 7-8  FruitTreeFarm $8.50

Fairtime

  • 750 hrs, free stone, 35 das after Elberta

Root Stocks

See Root Stock Comparisons

Most Common Root Stocks
  • Halford rootstock, better suited for High Ph soils (Austin, San Antonio, DFW), and any soil where white rock and caliche are prevalent.
    Womack Nursery offers Halford rootstock as alternative.
  • Nemaguard (nematode resistant, vigorous tree, but the most susceptible to calcareous soils) susceptible to root-lesion nematode, prefers sandy soil, susceptible to oak root fungus & bacterial canker, prunes on this rootstock are subject to brown line (Avoid in Harper area)
  • Nemared (nematode resistant)
  • Lovell – “This seed-grown standard peach rootstock has proven dependable and may develop a longer lived tree with better disease resistance and hardiness than other peach root stocks,” according to Raintree Nursery in Oregon. Easily maintained at 12 – 15′
  • Guardian.
Other Root Stocks
  • Flordaguard, a low-chill, nematode-resistant rootstock developed in Florida
Peach-Almond Hybrid Root Stocks
  • Red Leaf Titan Hybrid and –  peach-almond hybrid, tolerant of calcareous soils
  • Green Leaf Titan Hybrid – peach-almond hybrid, tolerant of calcareous soils
  • Hansen – peach-almond hybrid, tolerant of calcareous soils 2

This from http://www.idigmygarden.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18418
Most peaches are budded onto seedling plants. sometimes from named varietiel sources with special traits such as Nemaguard, but often on seed leftover from the processing industry in California. Some of the seed sold as Halford is probably from this source, rather than from the actual variety Halford, which is an old canning variety. Another standard, Lovell, was originally a drying peach so seed was cheap.
True to type seed comes from a budded or grafted tree of the rootstock variety. If you get a seed from Lovell or Nemaguard, grow it to fruiting, and save the seed, it likely will be similar to the parent, but not identical. Usually this is good enough, but for traits like nematode resistance, you cannot be sure you still have the trait. Most peaches are self-fertile, so most of the seed off a tree will be self-pollinated, especially if there are several trees together of the same variety.

Most of the available seed of Lovell, Nemaguard and Nemared is used by commercial nurseries so it rarely is available in the seed business. Since the “mother trees” are only grown for seed purposes, the resulting seed is expensive relative to seed that is a by product. Some nurseries maintain their own virus-free mother blocks to produce their own seed of known origin.

For standard rootstocks like Lovell and Nemaguard, budwood can be obtained from research stations so you can grow your own “mother trees” of the true cultivar. Mother trees are not available to buy because there is little or no demand for them, but they would be legal to sell. A few stocks like Guardian are protected and can only be grown by licensed nurseries. Royalties from these trees aid in supporting the research programs that developed Guardian.

  1. From Raintree Nursery info on how to grow peaches and nectarines. Raintree is a good resource.
  2. See more at http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/stonefruit/rootstock.html 
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